Generations Apart but Swimming Toward Same Goal
“You’re never too young or old to learn something new,” explains Y swim instructor Taylor Reed. Taylor teaches swim lessons to both 10-year-old Allaster Spivey, who has special needs, and Shirley Owen, who recently turned 77, at the East Pasco Family YMCA. “It’s just like learning how to ride a bike or learning any other new skill,” Taylor says.
Shirley has always been terrified of the water, even when taking a shower. “When water would hit me in the face, I’d panic,” she says. She made up her mind to cross swim lessons off her bucket list while driving past the East Pasco Y one day.
“I saw the sign on the road out here and that’s when I decided, I’m going to give it a try. So, I did it,” she says. That meant purchasing her first swimsuit. “I thought, ‘Holy Cow I’m never going to pay this much for a bathing suit. No way. And I don’t want no two-piece bathing suit,’” she laughs. Now that Shirley has learned the basics, she jokes about joining a water aerobics class. “Let me get this down first.”
Allaster’s dad, Jason, had already gotten him acclimated to the water at their home pool but his grandmother, Rose Marie, says “because Allaster had special needs I felt it would be very beneficial to him to learn a few more strokes and make more progress. If he ever got away from us it’s less scary knowing he knows how to swim.”
“It’s definitely helped him with the technique,” Jason says. “He was very comfortable in the water but now he has much more confidence. You wave him to come follow you, and before he’d be hesitant and try to stick to the sides and now he’s telling you to follow him so he’s definitely gained a lot of confidence from the lessons here at the Y.”
At the Y, we teach youth, teens and adults to swim, so they can stay safe around water and learn the skills they need to make swimming a lifelong pursuit for staying healthy.
“It’s the determination that the participants have that pushes them where they need to go. We give them the tools and help them along the way,” Taylor says. Swim lessons start as early as six months old. If you’re interested in signing up, click here.
Pictured above: (1) After being terrified of the water her entire life, Shirley Owen, 77, signed up for swim lessons with East Pasco Y swim instructor Taylor Reed. (2) Allaster Spivey, 10, works with his Y swim instructor Taylor Reed on floating.